Christmas in the Santa Ynez Valley

Santa Ynez Valley Holiday Events

December 2023 –

Below is a guide to making the most of your Christmas experience in the Santa Ynez Valley.  Please check back often for updated information.


Solvang Julefest, anannual Danish village holiday celebration, happens in the Santa Ynez Valley wine country beginning the day after Thanksgiving, Friday, November 24, 2023 — and lights up the town through Friday, January 5, 2024!
Tentative Solvang Julefest 2023  Event Schedule
(check back often, for updates and additions)
Solvang Julefest (pronounced ‘Yule-Fest’) includes the following:
  • Solvang Tree Lighting Ceremony , Friday evening, December 1, 5 PM,
    (come early for a seating).
  • Julefest Parade, December 2, 11 AM, Downtown Solvang
  • Santa visits in Solvang Park
  • “Nisse Adventure” scavenger hunt
  • Solvang Food Tours
  • Candlelight Tours
  • and so much more…

Referred to as one of the nation’s most Christmassy towns, Solvang is a very walkable California Central Coast travel destination.

Solvang Julefest Tree Lighting Ceremony
Friday, December 1, 2023, 5:00 PM, in Solvang Park (corner of Mission Drive and First Street). The Tree Lighting Ceremony includes ballerinas around the Solvang Christmas tree, live entertainment, caroling and the tree lighting.

Solvang Julefest Parade
Saturday, December 2, 2023, through downtown Solvang (parade start time 11:00 AM)

Nisse Adventure
Join in the hunt for the mysterious Solvang Nisse (Christmas elves) which will have hidden themselves throughout downtown Solvang (more information, TBA).

Solvang Julefest Candlelight Tours
Saturday evenings through the Julefest calendar, town-wide (dates TBA).
Julefest Candlelight Tours offer a unique, educational, and entertaining way
to explore the history-filled village on foot during the most festive of Solvang’s seasons.

Santa Visits in Solvang Park

The season’s main character will greet guests on particular Saturdays during Julefest (December 2, 9, 16, 23).

“Lights and Sights” Tour
Take the tour through the Santa Ynez Valley to view the many houses and businesses that display a Christmas spirit. Traditionally held midweek, Lights and Sights dates will soon be announced.

Solvang Christmas Tree Burn
Usually held in early January at the end of the month-long Solvang Julefest celebration, Solvang’s Tree Burn is one of the largest fire safety demonstrations along the California Central Coast. The 2024 Tree Burn is currently scheduled for Friday, January 5 (weather permitting).

*** Please Note: Always check status of events and all event updates prior to making travel plans.


Holiday Lights botanic-garden-ticketsHoliday Lights Festival at Santa Ynez Valley Botanic Garden

Save the Date for the second annual Enchanted Garden Holiday Lights Festival hosted by the Santa Ynez Valley Botanic Garden.

Guests can purchase tickets on select dates and times between 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. (the last showing at 8 p.m.).

2023 Dates include:

  • Friday, December 1st & 3rd
  • December 8th – 10th
  • December 15th – 17th

This will be a one-of-a-kind lighted display in the Santa Ynez Valley Botanic Garden at night. The Santa Ynez Botanic Garden is located at the West end of River View Park.

Tickets to the Holiday Lights Festival includes entry into the Enchanted Garden during your purchased time slot in addition to enjoying all that the festival has to offer.

Tickets are $25 for adults, $10 for children 3-12 years old; and children 2 and under are free. Tickets:

These listings below are from 2022,
please check back later for updates.

A Cowboy Christmas –

December 2-3, 10 am – 4 pm. The North Pole has taken over our stable! We are excited to announce a magical new SYV holiday experience this Christmas. A Cowboy Christmas is an immersion of holiday delight for all ages hosted at the stables of SYV Horse & Pony Rides at River View Park in Buellton, CA.
Guests of all ages will enjoy an array of magical experiences.

Buellton Winter Fest 2022:

buellton-winterfest-2022December 4 is Buellton’s annual Winter Fest.
Breakfast With Santa in the Buellton Rec Center from 9 – 11am, followed by a neighborhood parade. The parade starts at Jonata Middle School around Noon and goes up Second St. around Oak Valley and back to Jonata.
In the afternoon find the Holiday Village at Village Park located behind Tractor Supply, enjoy 20 Tons of Snow, vendors, music and live performances, beer/wine/spirits. From 4-7pm with the tree lighting at 7pm.
For more information contact the Buellton Chamber Office at 805.688.7829.


Los Alamos Christmas Tree Lighting:



On December 3, starting at 6pm at Ferrini Park (corner of Bell and Centennial Streets) in downtown Los Alamos, all are invited to enjoy a traditional tree lighting, carolers, luminaries and fun for the whole family.
Call 805-344-3500 for more details.



8 Days {an Edible Hanukkah Collaboration}:

In December, date to be announced, Santa Ynez Valley locals and visitors will be treated to an exclusive holiday food happening as Chef Drew Terp, Chef/Co-Owner of PICO at The Los Alamos General Store, and Chef Brooke Stockwell, Executive Chef for K’Syrah Catering & Events (, team up for a collaborative eight-day Hanukkah food fest: “8 Days {an Edible Hanukkah Collaboration}”.


Olde Fashioned Christmas:

Los Olivos is hosting their annual Olde Fashioned Christmas on the first Saturday in December from 4 to 8 pm. This fun event gives you the chance to experience warm, friendly, small-town fun and start the holiday season off right! There will be an artisan boutique in the Grange from 1 to 8 pm where you can get a start on your Christmas shopping, Santa Claus will be in St. Mark’s parlor, a train ride for kids their parents, live Christmas music, food trucks, live decorated Christmas trees at participating businesses, an Official Lighting of the Christmas Tree and much more!

Gingerbread Wonderland:

Milk Carton GingerbreadGingerbread Wonderland is coming to St. Mark’s in Los Olivos on Saturday December 3rd from 4 to 8 pm. Beautiful gingerbread houses decorated by locals, and you can enter a gingerbread house of your own if you want. There will also be a Christmas cookie sale, live music, holiday crafts for the children, food and drinks and photos with Santa. Proceeds from this event will benefit Arts Outreach and St. Mark’s-in-the-Valley Preschool, both of which serve children of our Santa Ynez Valley.



Santa Ynez christmas eventsDecember 1

Join us as for a celebration from 4:00pm-6:00pm before the 55 foot living Christmas tree is lit.

Dancing, musical performances are planned as well as Santa and Mrs. Claus and a variety of characters. Watch for Santa arriving in a red convertible, a sight you won’t want to miss!

Shops are open and reservations are suggested for the the restaurants in town.

SOLVANG 2023 tentative plans

Nightly Light & Music Show

Solvang Park – 1630 Mission Dr, Solvang, CA 93463
November 26th-January 6th
A 10 minute light show on the hour every hour from 5- 9pm. This features an automated light show with holiday music.

Julefest Tree Lighting:

Julefest-christmas-tree-lighting-solvangTo kick off their annual Julefest, the city of Solvang hosts a tree lighting in Solvang Park (First Street and Mission Drive) on the first Friday December from 5 to 6:30 pm. Come see Solvang sparkle as the tree is lit, watch dancing ballerinas, bands and caroling and see Santa Claus’ arrival in Solvang. Come early, this is a free, family friendly event.


Julefest Parade:

Julefest paradeDowntown Solvang is having their annual Julefest Parade on Saturday December 3, from 11 am – 12:30 pm. With over 400 participants and more than 50 entries in the parade, this is a must see. The parade will go down Mission Drive, Copenhagen Drive and adjacent streets. After the parade, enjoy free visits with Santa in Solvang Park. For more information call (805) 688-6144.

Solvang Farmer’s Market:

The Solvang Farmer’s Market is held on Wednesdays from 2:30 to 6:00 pm on First Street between Mission and Copenhagen Drive, and is a fun, free, family-friendly event. Local farmers gather together in the marketplace to sell their seasonal, colorful agricultural products. There are tons of organic options to choose from, and the event goes on rain or shine! This is a great opportunity to shop and socialize.

Elverhøj Museum’s Christmas Party:

Elverhoj Museum Front EntranceOn the first Sunday in December (December 4th, Elverhøj Museum ihosts their annual Christmas Party. There will be a 12-foot tall tree decorated with hand-made Danish ornaments, demonstrations of Danish Christmas crafts, bobbin lace making, live music, dancing around the Christmas tree and more fun activities. Traditional Danish open face sandwiches, Danish Christmas cookies and chocolates and all-around Danish Christmas cheer to be savored. Santa will also stop by to visit the kids, and he usually brings treats too! For more information call the Museum at (805) 686-1211

Holiday Concert:

On a Saturday, in December at 7:30 pm and on Sunday, at 3:00 pm the Santa Ynez Valley Master Chorale and Orchestra will perform their holiday concert, entitled “The Festival Of Carols”. The Youth Choir will be joining them in singing and performing holiday-themed music, including traditional caroling songs. The concerts will take place at The Solvang Vets Hall (1745 Mission Drive in Solvang, CA 93463).

Danish Family Christmas Dinner:

The Danish Sisterhood is hosting their annual Traditional Family Danish Christmas Dinner on Sunday, December,  from 5:30 to 8:30 pm at Bethania Lutheran Church (621 Atterdag Rd). There will be a delicious dinner, dancing around the Christmas tree and a special visit from Santa. This event is open to everyone, so bring your friends and family.

Call (805) 705-2118 for more information.

Ballard | Buellton | Los Alamos | Los Olivos | Santa Ynez | Solvang

Check Back for more information as it becomes available. 

Restaurants and Wineries Open for Christmas and New Year’s holidays

Find a list of what restaurants and wineries will be open for Christmas and New Years, and which restaurants offer special holiday menus. For the best experience, we highly recommend calling the restaurants and tasting rooms ahead of time to ensure they still have seating availability.



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Santa Ynez Valley EventsAbout Visit Santa Ynez Valley provides listings of the best Santa Ynez wineries, best places to eat in Solvang, Santa Ynez hotels and inns, and things to do in Santa Ynez Valley. Visit the website at for complete travel and visitor services. “Like” the Facebook page for ideas on planning Santa Ynez vacations. Email for help planning your next vacation in the Santa Ynez Valley.